Toyota C-HR review
The Toyota C-HR hybrid is an accomplished small SUV that boasts low running costs and bold styling
- Bold design
- Quiet when cruising
- Excellent fuel economy
- Poor infotainment
- Noisy acceleration
- Not overly spacious
|Car type||Fuel economy||CO2 emissions||0-62mph|
The Toyota C-HR is an unusual-looking vehicle that’s designed to stand out in the very crowded compact SUV class. Clearly the approach works, as more than 50,000 examples have been sold in the UK. A facelift introduced during 2020 was designed to ensure the car’s popularity endures.
Four out of five pre-facelift C-HRs were bought with a hybrid engine, and it’s here that Toyota made the most fundamental change: the C-HR is now hybrid-only, with the sole pure-petrol model ditched in favour of a 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol-electric line-up.
The 1.8-litre engine – also found in the Toyota Prius – is carried over, with the petrol powerplant working in tandem with an electric motor to provide 120bhp and fuel economy just shy of 60mpg The 2.0-litre engine was first seen in the Toyota Corolla and features two electric motors: a main one to provide drive and a supplementary one that harvests energy from the car’s regenerative braking system. Total power amounts to 182bhp, which lowers the C-HR’s 0-62mph time from 11 to 8.2 seconds.
That extra turn of speed comes at the cost of some fuel efficiency: Toyota says the 2.0-litre model should return a still-respectable 54mpg, and our test drive on UK roads suggested this is a realistic figure to aim for. All versions of the C-HR feature a CVT automatic gearbox, with drive sent to the front wheels only.
Bear in mind that the C-HR is a "self-charging" hybrid like the Toyota RAV4 and Kia Niro, and not a plug-in like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, MINI Countryman and Renault Captur. So, while you can’t charge the car with a cable, you’ll spend a surprising amount of time in ‘EV mode’. The 2.0-litre version is more effective in this respect thanks to its more powerful electric motor, which will kick in for short (but frequent) bursts at speeds of up to 75mph.
As SUVs go, the C-HR drives tidily, with light steering and reasonable cornering ability making it a doddle to steer around town. Toyota says various tweaks have been made to the suspension to make the slightly heavier 2.0-litre version more comfortable, although the car still feels unsettled on most roads. A GR Sport version, with tweaked suspension for sharper handling, joined the line-up in early 2021, but we haven't yet driven it so can't comment on its merits until we do.
Other foibles include a relatively small boot, poor rear visibility (due to that sloping roofline) and a dreadful eight-inch infotainment touchscreen that’s highly unintuitive to use. Happily, Toyota now offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, which goes a long way to making up for the shortcomings of its own system.
Those issues aside, the C-HR remains a highly appealing small SUV, with a five-year/100,000-mile guarantee and a generous equipment list likely to tempt many buyers away from its main rivals. For a more detailed look at the Toyota C-HR Hybrid, read the rest of our in-depth review...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Toyota C-HR hybrid is an accomplished small SUV that boasts low running costs and bold styling
- 2MPG & CO2 emissionsThe Toyota C-HR hybrid delivers impressive fuel economy and CO2 emissions for a petrol-fuelled family SUV, but is some way off plug-in hybrid alternatives in both areas
- 3Running costsThe Toyota C-HR isn't the cheapest family SUV to buy, but its impressive fuel economy should save you money in the long run
- 4Engines, drive & performanceThe Toyota C-HR hybrid handles well, although the engine noise under harsh acceleration blights its overall refinement
- 5Interior & comfortThe Toyota C-HR's dashboard feels well made and stylishly designed, although the infotainment system is a bit of a letdown
- 6Practicality & boot spaceThe Toyota C-HR hybrid is practical enough for small families, but there are more versatile and more spacious SUVs on the market
- 7Reliability & safetyThe Toyota C-HR hybrid offers more peace of mind on the safety and reliability fronts than most of its rivals